What do you get when you cross Dwarf Fortress, Age of Empires and Minecraft? Sounding like a rogue-like and strategy gamer’s wet dream, the fascinating new project Timber & Stone has emerged blinking into the sunlight of Kickstarter.
Currently a work in progress project by Robert Reed, Timber & Stone has been under development since March 2012. Even after such a short development period it is already showing a great deal of promise. Using voxel-based meshes, at first glance T&S can easily be mistaken for Minecraft. However, the game-play of T&S is more akin to Dwarf Fortress, where you are responsible for developing and protecting a small settlement of colonists in a potentially hostile environment.
As you build new structures and expand your colony, migrants will eventually turn up on your doorstep to join your growing community. But new workers means more mouths to feed, so you’ll need to expand your food production to accommodate them. As your fields grow, you will need to protect them from the attacks of goblins and the undead.
Situated in a fully 3d environment, T&S enables you to work downwards as well as up. Unlike Age of Empires’ surface-based resources, T&S will demand you burrow under your village to extract stone and iron to create your defences. Dig too deeply, and run the risk of unleashing the terrors beneath the earth.
Several work-in-progress videos have been released of the project, showing some interesting facets of the game. Siege weapons and arrows are seen to be physical objects capable of pinning attackers to the landscape in a satisfying way. Also in the development video, Reed demonstrates the difference that skill levels have on the performance of two archers. Whilst the experienced soldier riddles the target with well-aimed shots, the novice is lucky to score a single hit.
Reed gives no definite dates with respect to release, as is standard for the indie course, but Timber & Stone is a game I will be watching with definite interest as development continues. Its ambitions are evident from the website, and I’m excited to see whether or not the game will be able to meet them.